By Rebecca Drew
MEET the stunning British woman and her Australian boyfriend who spent just £500 refurbishing their ex-postal van called Pat before setting off on the European road trip of a lifetime.
Envy inducing photographs show project co-ordinator Kate Quinn (26) from Coventry and her boyfriend videographer Benny Leyland (23) from Melbourne, Australia enjoying beers on the beach in Portugal, feeding the ducks in Mallorca and tucking into a giant slice baguette in Paris. Other shots show Kate cooking dinner outside on a skateboard and the pair setting off on the road.
Incredible video footage shows the loved-up couple, who met while Kate was travelling around Australia, kitting out their home on wheels. So far, they’ve clocked up 10,000-miles.
“In passing conversation we’d spoken about dreams we both had and we said how awesome it would be to travel Europe at some point. I joined Benny on a work trip where we spent five hours in the work van together and after joking if we survived that we could take on Europe in a van it just escalated,” said Kate.
“We got more and more excited, got into Pinterest and thought, if those guys can do it, so can we, by the time I left in Australia, Benny had started his visa process and we’d made some enquiries about buying a van over here and we were saving materials on eBay that we’d buy.
“Overall, living in the van is amazing, it opens up a whole world of possibilities that aren’t accessible with other forms of travel, it was particularly awesome being able to stay at secluded beaches along the North of Spain.
“We have downsized a lot and love living simply! A really good thing about living in the van is being able to pull over and nap on long drives, and knowing what you need is always there with you from a surf board, to a piece of blue tack.
“The best thing about this is the freedom. Picking somewhere on a map and driving there with no real idea what it will be like is incredibly exciting, it’s amazing to know you can stay as long as you’d like or move on if it’s not what we’re looking for.”
After they set off from Dover, the couple have been through France and Spain twice, Portugal, Morocco, Mallorca and are currently exploring The Netherlands. They hope to visit Belgium before returning to the UK to save money for backpacking around Asia in January.
Their trip hasn’t been plain sailing all the way though. Pat’s starter motor broke when they arrived in Portugal, their roof deck including solar panels and laptops were stolen but they have learnt to make the best out of every situation.
“The vast majority of people we’ve met have been intrigued by the journey we’re doing. We’ve met a lot of people older than us doing it in a fully equipped motor home and say they think it’s cool we’re doing it now in this way. They’re always really excited to see the van and have a sit inside,” added Kate.
“The main message is go for it. If the idea is there, then do it. Regret is far worse than making some sacrifices now to save and make it possible.
“There’s no time like right now, money and careers can always be made but there are memories and friends make along this journey are truly priceless and absolutely has been the best thing both of us have ever done.
“Sometimes I see myself as a contradiction in that I love roughing it, being an unwashed hippy in a van but also love comforts and heels, I feel it’s good in life to be adaptable and make the most of situations you’re in there and then.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/slowdowngofurther